Plan to end meter theft

2016-09-19 10:09
Water meter theft hotspots in Msunduzi

Water meter theft hotspots in Msunduzi (Graphics24)

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The Msunduzi Municipality has spent more than R1,5 million on replacing stolen water meters in the city this year.

Most of the water meters have been stolen in Copesville and Orient Heights.

Thefts of water meters increased in the last three months, with more than 700 households in the city targeted during that period.

Msunduzi Municipality said brass meters that have cast-iron boxes are being targeted by the thieves, as these have a high resale value.

But the city is determined to curb the thefts and resulting financial losses and will soon be moving toward installing plastic meters throughout the municipality.

“We are looking at replacing all meters with plastic above-ground meters. These meters have no resale value in the public domain,” Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said.

The cost to the municipality to replace one stolen water meter is R3 000 — an amount the city did not budget for.

Msunduzi Municipality resorted to alerting the police about the spate of water meter thefts as “it is a crime and is costing the municipality a lot of money”.

Municipal security and police members from the uMgungundlovu North Cluster have been patrolling the hot spots to apprehend the suspects.

Members of specialised crime-fighting unit Combined Action Team (CAT) and Aliwal Security recovered eight stolen brass water meters from a suspect who evaded arrest.

“The municipality is working with the SAPS to deal with the matter but communities are urged to be vigilant and to report the perpetrators,” Mafumbatha said.

She said it was difficult to prove a case against the suspects and urged the communities to also work with the municipality by contacting the hotline.

“We need to work together in order to protect our water,” she said.

The theft of water meters left some communities, especially Copesville, without water for weeks on end.

When water meters are stolen, the entire reticulation system needs to be shut down in order for repairs to take place.

Police have also made a desperate appeal for information as water meter thieves run amok in Copesville and surrounding suburbs, robbing not only residents but the city itself, of resources.

The police have asked residents and scrap metal dealers to keep their eyes and ears open as authorities rally to bring what is suspected to be a criminal syndicate operating in the area to its knees.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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